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Archive for August, 2012

Before You Drink, Think

Posted by Rayne Water

With extreme temperatures, outdoor activities, and drought-like conditions all around the country, many of us are drinking more water than normal. We reach for a plastic bottle or fill up our own bottles from the tap. But before you drink, you may want to think… about the choice you’re making that is. Plastic water bottles are not an eco-friendly choice for staying hydrated and tap water may not be either as one recent report from WSAV-3 News. Your best bet is a reverse osmosis water filter.
Although even then Environmental Working Group admits that the US has some of the safest drinking water in the world, it is still far from being pure and completely safe. Statistics can be scary sometimes. For example, The Environmental Protection Agency only tests annually for about 90 chemicals (including arsenic, lead and copper). In 2009, about 28 percent of all water treatment systems in the US had at least one significant violation. Many contaminants that aren’t regulated (such as antibiotics and depression meds) end up in our taps too. Plus, hydraulic fracturing–or fracking (a process used to extract natural gas and oil from deep within the earth)–can leach chemicals like methanol and formaldehyde into the groundwater.
Most consumers look to bottled water as the alternative form of safe drinking water. But beyond just the hassle of buying and lugging them around, they are not cost-effective and are very bad for the environment. Between 2004 and 2009, US consumption of bottled water increased by 24 percent. Bottled water sales have more than quadrupled in the last 20 years. But according to the Environmental Working Group, The federal government does not mandate that bottled water be any safer than tap water – the chemical pollution standards are nearly identical (EWG 2008). In fact, bottled water is less regulated than tap water. Plus, plastic water bottles are the fastest growing form of municipal solid waste in the United States. Each year more than 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter.
For consumers, the best choice based on the research and these factors mentioned above would be a drinking water system. We recommend our reverse osmosis system which effectively reduces contaminants, is affordable, and eco-friendly. You tap water will be cleaner and safer than before, and you can drink up without the worry.

Do low water levels mean low water quality?

Posted by Rayne Water

There are many variables in drinking water quality. Although the United States has some of the best drinking water in the world, our nation continually deals with contamination and water quality. We see this happening in the news, in publications, and even in politics. But one of the lesser known variables is the weather and temperature – specifically droughts. Droughts, according to a recent article from care2.com, can have four major impacts on drinking water and the aquatic or human life it comes into contact with. Likewise, past droughts exposed vulnerabilities in the state’s public water supply, highlighting a need for water use planning and management.
The worst U.S. drought since 1956 has recently been affecting the taste, smell and appearance of tap water across the country. The first way a drought can impact drinking water is worsening sediment runoff during much-needed rainfall. As the article explains, dry earth does not absorb water as well soil that already contains some moisture. When summer storms cause sudden rainfall, more soils in drought stricken areas wash into rivers and streams than would have in non-drought conditions. This extra sediment causes what we call turbidity problems. High turbidity may not be completely dangerous; however there is a Safe Drinking Water Act standard for turbidity because the condition sets utilities up for other problems, including bacterial growth within the distribution system.
Second, warm surface water and the extra sediment cause algae and bacteria growth. Low water levels and high temperatures lead to breeding grounds for unusual algae or pond-scum. For example, Wisconsin public health officials are concerned that the algae “can produce cyanotoxins that remain in the lake for weeks—long after the algae bloom disperses. These toxins can pose numerous health risks for aquatic–bound life, including humans, if it comes into contact with the skin, or is ingested.”  As explained, “Extra bacteria and unusual algae means water utilities and natural resource officials must add extra treatment chemicals to water supplies. Extreme chlorination is one of the complaints of residents in Darien, Connecticut, where discolored water and conflicting advice from authorities is alarming residents.”
Third, as the quantity of water in reservoirs and lakes fall, concentrations of dissolved toxins rise. Nitrates, sulfites and any other soluble chemical dumped into waterways could be drawn into drinking water supplies at a higher ratio than normal, burdening filtration plants.  This, too, can compromise the overall quality and put extra pressure on filtration systems.
Lastly, the increased acidity in the water intensifies toxic effects on wildlife. As water levels drop, acidity levels of surface waterways increase. Droughts don’t have to compromise your drinking water in your home, however. As officials work to find solutions for the droughts and extreme temperatures increasing all over the country, home water filters and drinking water systems can reduce harmful contaminants like chemicals, excess chlorine, or bacteria and provide your household with plenty of clean, safe drinking water. If you live in an area that has experienced drought-like conditions, consider a water filter for your home. Don’t let a drought compromise your home’s drinking water quality.

Vinyl Chloride – A Cancer-Causing Contaminant

Posted by Rayne Water

Usually when the state steps in to legally enforce drinking water regulations, something is very wrong. When towns or municipalities are not following guidelines for water regulations, the state will sue them to clean up the water and find ways to provide safe drinking water to residents. Last month, this was the situation in Illinois according to an article published by the Chicago Tribune. The state finally stepped in to remove a cancer-causing chemical from the public drinking water in south suburban Sauk Village. But this is just one town affected by this cancer-causing chemical. How many other towns may have this same problem, but the levels are not high enough to do anything about it? News stories such as this need to create awareness and proactive decisions by residents in the United States. Waiting until something is found in your water, tested for, or exceeds limitations is dangerous. Some contaminants may not be as harmful, but in the case of vinyl chloride – it causes cancer.
Two portable air strippers are going to be used on a temporary basis to start reducing the level of vinyl chloride in the suburb’s well water system, state officials said. The two air strippers — which shoot air through the water to remove the toxic chemical — are being hooked up to the suburb’s highest producing well. Meanwhile, village officials are continuing to provide free bottled water to residents. But not only is this a temporary fix, plastic water bottles usually end up in landfills and the amount of plastic waste adding up is irresponsible and just as dangerous to our environment.  “The goal is to get all of the volatiles out,” said Maggie Carson, spokeswoman for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The goal may seem on target, but village officials voted Thursday to bring in the air strippers themselves. That plan could have taken more than a month. Carson said the state moved to get it done faster and will most likely be paid back by Sauk Village.
According to the article, the state EPA warned residents that vinyl chloride levels in their drinking water had reached levels high enough to require the town take action and alert users. Vinyl chloride is a carcinogen and the federal EPA says there is no safe level of exposure to it. According to the federal EPA’s website, “Acute (short-term) exposure to high levels of vinyl chloride in air has resulted in central nervous system effects (CNS), such as dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches in humans. Chronic (long-term) exposure to vinyl chloride through inhalation and oral exposure in humans has resulted in liver damage. Cancer is a major concern from exposure to vinyl chloride via inhalation, as vinyl chloride exposure has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer in humans. EPA has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A, human carcinogen.”
When contaminants make the headlines, it should make residents in other areas cautious (but not panicked) about their drinking water. To reduce concern and contaminants, reverse osmosis systems like ours can provide safe drinking water. Our drinking water systems are easy to maintain, are eco-friendly, and affordable to homeowners. From washing your fruits and vegetables, to making ice cubes, drinking water with our reverse osmosis water filters has never been safer.